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Boy from Nowhere: A Life in Ninety-One Countries [Hardcover]

Allan Fotheringham
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 25 2011

Born in Hearne, Saskatchewan, in 1932, Allan Fotheringham has had a distinguished career. Dubbed "Dr. Foth," Fotheringhamgraduated from the University of British Columbia andhas worked for numerous news organizations, including the Vancouver Sun, Southam News, The Financial Post, Sun Media, the Globe and Mail, and most notably as a long-time columnist for Maclean's.

His career hastaken him to many places on almost every continent as a correspondent and allowed him to meet many renowned personalities, from Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan,and Brian Mulroney toThe Beatles, Pierre Trudeau, and Nelson Mandela.Forten years he was apanellist on the popular CBC-TV show Front Page Challenge, and he's won many awards, includingthe National Magazine Award for Humour, a National Newspaper Award for Column Writing, and the Bruce Hutchinson Life Achievement Award.

Time once described Allan Fotheringham as "Canada's most consistently controversial newspaper columnist ... a tangier critic of complacency has rarely appeared in a Canadian newspaper."


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Review

Born in Hearne, Saskatchewan, in 1932, Allan Fotheringham has had a distinguished career. Dubbed "Dr. Foth," Fotheringham graduated from the University of British Columbia and has worked for numerous news organizations, including the Vancouver Sun, Southam News, The Financial Post, Sun Media, the Globe and Mail, and most notably as a long-time columnist for Maclean's.

His career has taken him to many places on almost every continent as a correspondent and allowed him to meet many renowned personalities, from Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Brian Mulroney to The Beatles, Pierre Trudeau, and Nelson Mandela. For ten years he was a panellist on the popular CBC-TV show Front Page Challenge, and he's won many awards, including the National Magazine Award for Humour, a National Newspaper Award for Column Writing, and the Bruce Hutchinson Life Achievement Award.

Time once described Allan Fotheringham as "Canada's most consistently controversial newspaper columnist ... a tangier critic of complacency has rarely appeared in a Canadian newspaper."



Fotheringham did not fall into the category of those who wrote history but some of his stuff certainly influenced history. An example that comes to mind was his wickedly cruel, colorful but accurate saga of Joe Clark's botched world tour shortly after he won the Conservative Party leadership in 1976. The Foth's description of lost underwear, walking into bayonets and inane conversation with peasants created a devastating first impression, picked up by the rest of the media that Clark never fully recovered from.

(Literary Review of Canada 2011-12-01)

Fotheringham is a storyteller, a dancer, a lover of women. He lunches well, dines better, and remembers every detail. You could toss 'Who's Who' off the CN Tower, and not drop as many names as he does in this book... An agreeable way to spend a few hours.

(Maclean's magazine 2011-11-07)

There's a good deal about the fundamentals of the business: booze and sex. (Shane McCune The Globe and Mail 2011-11-20)

During his quarter-century as Maclean's back-page columnist, Dr. Foth, now 79, was indisputably the country's most popular political columnist - a deft phrase-turner and pomposity-skewer...

(Toronto Star 2011-10-23)

Review

"What Canadians lack most is the ability to laugh at themselves, and Dr. Foth has filled the gap. He set a cheeky new style in journalism that has never been equalled. Tilting against the prevailing winds of Canadian politics is his specialty and humour, his weapon. He remains neutral — he attacks everybody. At Maclean's he occupied the prestigious back page with grace and guts for twenty-seven years. Allan Fotheringham was never replaced nor can he be."
— Peter C. Newman, Author of When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada

"Allan Fotheringham is a unique personality. He has been an unforgettable force in Canadian journalism and a forceful player in the public life of our country. We are friends, but that didn't make him less objective."
— The Right Honourable John Turner, Canada's Seventeenth Prime Minister

"As a chronicler of our times, Allan Fotheringham had rare gifts. He combined humour and courage, a capacity to regale and impale. Full of kiss and vinegar, he was. The sun shone from his fingertips. The wit, the mirth, the sabre — they're all here in a story of a life and then some."
— Lawrence Martin, Globe and Mail Columnist

"The Boy from Nowhere became the Man from Everywhere, from Moscow to Moose Jaw, anywhere there was a story to tell, people to meet, and political absurdities to unmask. Foth did more than invent the back page — he has the last word on that national species known as Canadians."
— The Honourable Patricia "Pat" Carney, Former Senator and Conservative Minister

"Allan Fotheringham — sometimes he's right, sometimes he's wrong. Often he makes you laugh, often he enrages you. But under all circumstances he never leaves you indifferent. It makes for quite a life!"              — The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Canada's Twenty-First Prime Minister


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Feb. 7 2012
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase
I'm a longtime fan of Dr. Foth, but much of this book reads like his Daytimer transcribed by a clerk:- visited so-and-so, had lunch with somebody, and so on, without comment or elaboration. It might have faired better if I hadn't just finished Craig Oliver's book, full of insights into all sorts of people and places. Mr. Fotheringham certainly has had plenty of encounters, friendships, and adventures, but they are mostly unexamined in this book. I had to push myself to finish it, first in the hope that there would be more nuggets, and then in the determination that I could review it having read the whole thing.

As I said, disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful "work". Dec 16 2011
Format:Hardcover
Dr Foth's wit and wisdom shines through this roller coaster ride through an amazing life . What an adventurous tale he spins about his prairie childhood, his travels and loves, the journalistic highs of fame and fortune, the adulation and the adversity, - the ups and downs are all there for the reader to share, and to ponder how one guy did it all. Way to go Allan. Here's to the next 20 years!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boy from Nowhere was Everywhere Nov. 25 2011
By John
Format:Hardcover
It's refreshing to read about Allan's life, his many deep connections to family and to the world around him, in such a straightforward style. He is a thoughtful observer of his own life, having spent a lifetime observing others. It's a fun and informative read just like his back page of Maclean's
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boy From Nowhere Is A Must Read!! Nov. 20 2011
By Sari
Format:Hardcover
Have not seen such an entertaining book of this sort in years. Once I started it, I just could not put it down. A great combination of political inside stories, personal tidbits and comment on what life is all about. Written with humour and real life thrown in. After all, it is his life. I would recommend it to all ages. 5 stars.
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